There are many sources of wisdom in the world. You can dive into religious and philosophical texts. You can reflect on the speeches of inspiring leaders and revolutionaries. You can turn to the arts to engage with creativity and human possibility.

And, of course, you can listen with attention to the wisdom dispensed in the theme songs of sitcoms.

If you are a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, you might be surprised to discover just how much wisdom can be gleaned from those catchy numbers that usher in each episode of our favorite shows.

Facts are Facts for Those in Recovery

The Facts of Life aired from 1979 until 1988 and featured the adventures (and misadventures) of the young women who attended Eastland School and their housemother. The theme song is among the most hummable in television history:

You take the good
You take the bad
You take them both and there you have the facts of life
The facts of life

There’s a time you got to go
And show you’re growin’
Now you know about the facts of life
The facts of life

When the world never seems
To be living up to your dreams
Then suddenly you’re finding out
The facts of life are all about you

When you are in recovery, you are going to have good days and bad days as you do the work of staying sober. The recovery journey is all about growth and making your way forward even when “the world never seems to be living up to your dreams.” Keeping those facts in mind can make the challenging days more manageable.

Having Friends Sure Can Help A Lot

Cheers and Friends are both iconic sitcoms with equally iconic theme songs. And while Cheers might seem like an odd choice for a blog about recovery (the show is set in a bar after all), the show’s theme offers up this nugget:

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name

Take those words out of the context of a pub and you have a pretty good description of a 12-Step or other recovery meeting. While people there may only know your first name, there is no doubt that recovery programs offer a space where people who have a shared understanding of the realities of substance use disorders can come together in mutual support. While the details of each person’s experience with drugs or alcohol vary, in a larger sense these meetings can remind you that “our troubles are all the same.” And that can be a helpful message.

Meanwhile, the theme from Friends shares many…well…themes with the song that introduced each episode of Cheers. For our purposes here, we want to focus on the chorus:

I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)

When you are in recovery, you want to find the people in your life who truly will be there for you. Supportive family members and close friends can provide so much support and encouragement that shores up your sobriety. Knowing you have people you can turn to when cravings strike, tough emotions surface, or when you are lonely is comforting—and can help stave off relapses.

Muddling Through Beats Giving Up Sobriety

Whether you’re talking about the 1975-1984 version or the more recent reboot, the theme to the sitcom One Day at a Time has some advice about living…you guessed it…one day at a time:

This is it. 

This is life, the one you get 

So go and have a ball. 

This is it. 

Straight ahead and rest assured 

You can’t be sure at all. 

So while you’re here enjoy the view 

Keep on doing what you do 

Hold on tight. We’ll muddle through 

One day at a time. 

So up on your feet. 

Somewhere there’s music playing. 

Don’t you worry none 

We’ll just take it like it comes. 

One day at a time!

That advice is in keeping with Living Sober, a guidebook from Alcoholics Anonymous, which has this to say about staying sober:

Although we realize that alcoholism is a permanent, irreversible condition, our experience has taught us to make no long-term promises about staying sober. We have found it more realistic—and more successful—to say, ‘I am not taking a drink just for today.’ Even if we drank yesterday, we could plan not to drink today. We may drink tomorrow—who knows whether we’ll even be alive then?—but for these 24 hours, we decide not to drink. No matter what the temptation or provocation, we determine to go to any extremes necessary to avoid a drink today.

Let’s face it: The theme song version of this message is much peppier. But know matter how you receive the message, it is largely the same. You have to take your recovery journey one day at a time.

No Joke – We Can Help

There’s nothing funny about a substance use disorder. If you are struggling, Wooded Glen Recovery Center in Indiana can help you regain your sobriety.